What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and Broker?
Updated: Sep 24
Real estate professionals can be sorted into many types. At times, you may find it confusing to differentiate between the different titles. Some of the people who work in the property sector add their titles and certifications to their name to brand themselves among all the clutter.
Given this nuance, many people wonder whether real estate agents can work as brokers and vice versa. What is the difference between a real estate agent and a broker?
Who is a Real Estate Agent?
Estate agents are not the same as brokers. They have passed the state exam and possess the Florida real estate license, but they are not legally allowed to work individually. Instead, they must work as subordinates to a broker. The brokers are accountable for the actions of their subordinates.
The requirements to become a licensed real estate agent are different for different states. To get a license in Florida, you need to be at least 18 years old, in addition to having at least a high school diploma. You must complete 63 hours of Florida real estate license course and pass the state licensing test to get a license. You can prepare for the licensing exam by taking the real estate license Florida online course. The post license course is critical to have up to date knowledge about the field.
An agent is a sales associate who has undergone the pre-license course and passed the license exam. They can buy and/or sell properties in the state where they operate. They keep eye on the state’s real estate market and help buyers and sellers in numerous ways. He/she is the first professional that buyers and sellers encounter when selling or purchasing properties.
Real estate agents are further categorized into different types, based on their specialties and duties. The main types include:
These are sales associates that represent a property owner when the owner wants to sell their property. They are responsible to represent the seller’s best interests.
These professionals represent a property buyer during their search and acquisition of a property. They are responsible to represent the buyer’s best interests.
A dual sales associate represents both the property seller and buyer at the same time. This can happen in case the agents for the buyer and seller work for the same real estate broker. This agency setup is outlawed in many states, including Florida.
They act as impartial facilitators for buyers and sellers during a transaction process in case the buyer does not have their own representative. Under this setup, the agent does not represent the buyer or seller, but simply acts as a facilitator.
Who is a Real Estate Broker?
A real estate broker generally has more knowledge, experience, and training than an agent. Unlike an agent, brokers can operate independently or have real estate agents work for them. Also, a broker can work as a sales associate, but the latter cannot work as the former.
To get a brokerage license in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old and have at least a high school diploma. In addition, you must complete the real estate course, have at least two years of experience as a licensed estate agent and pass the Florida real estate brokerage test. You do not need to be a permanent resident of Florida to get this license. You must take the license education to pass the state licensing exam.
Brokers oversee their sales associates, making sure their clients get better service. They can have different responsibilities, depending on the path they choose in their careers. These professionals are also categorized into different types based on their responsibilities.
Here are the main types:
Brokers who own real estate brokerage are called designated brokers. They are responsible for the actions of all the agents working under them, including the transactions that take place through their subordinates.
These professionals take a very active role in running the affairs of a brokerage firm.
They have multiple brokers and agents working under them.
These professionals have got the license to operate as independent brokers but decided to work under another broker.
Duties of Agents & Brokers
The general and common duties of brokers and agents include the following:
To represent buyers and sellers
List real estate sales
Negotiate prices and facilitate transactions
Look for property buyer and seller leads
Showing properties to prospective buyers
The additional duties of a broker include:
Hiring and training agents
Brokerage conflict resolution
Facilitating contract preparation and reviewing contracts
Having transactions done through escrow accounts
Property management and marketing
Running the daily activities of the office
Benefits of Being a Broker
Run your own brokerage
Earn higher income
Get a higher percentage of Florida real estate commission
Establish and run a property management company
Use your experience to get leverage in marketing
Benefits of Being an Agent
Fewer requirements to meet for a license than a broker
Limited financial accountability
Limited management duties
How to Become an Estate Agent or Broker
To become a real estate broker, you first need to have experience as a licensed estate agent for two years. Start the pre-licensing course now and pass the real estate test. You can then work under a broker to gain experience. Once you gain two years of experience, you can complete the broker pre-licensing courses and pass the licensing test. Other requirements for these professions have been discussed above.